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Sat Dec 03 04:27:14 SAST 2016

OPINION: Political rookie Mashaba not the best fit for Joburg mayor

PETER BRUCE | 2016-08-19 10:01:01.0
Johannesburg mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba
Image by: Simphiwe Nkwali

The last question about the local government elections is who will run Johannesburg. And it shouldn’t even arise. The ANC ended the elections as the largest party in the city, but DA leader Mmusi Maimane insists his mayoral candidate, entrepreneur Herman Mashaba, will be the party’s nominee when the new council meets for the first time next week.

That may sound honourable. But it is also agonising because Julius Malema’s EFF has told Maimane that while it will informally support the DA in Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, allowing it to run those cities in addition to Cape Town, it is less than enthusiastic about Mashaba as mayor of Johannesburg.

Maimane is being his decent self (and Malema would not stop Mashaba becoming mayor). But he’s also being a little imprecise. People voted for Mashaba to be mayor, he said on Wednesday. "It’s important," he said, " that we honour our relationship with the voters."

I seriously doubt anyone who voted for the DA on August 3 did so because of Herman Mashaba. And I doubt anyone who voted for the DA would give a hoot if the DA caucus next week proposed someone more politically experienced to be mayor.

Mashaba is a nice man and in business terms a "legend". But he was a poor candidate, a political rookie, and his inexperience sticks out a mile.

The fact is Mashaba was Maimane’s choice, against some opposition from the DA leadership. Even if he succeeds in making him mayor, it is a highly political job, not a management one. Entrepreneurs often make lousy politicians — as Donald Trump proves daily.

- This is an edited extract. Read the full column on BDlive

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